A 15-year friendship with Jared Ouko from South Africa has led to the addition of the Mariana Islands and Micronesia as regions on BirdLasser app. If that’s not putting us on the map, I don’t know what is.
Jared, Steff and I were in Nanjing, China, 15 years ago, where Steff attended an International Softball Federation Congress. Jared was there as part of the South Africa delegation. We met, we spoke, we clicked, and throughout our weeklong stay, we had many discussions about oral history and what it was like to grow up in South Africa.
Naturally, I asked Jared if I could interview him, so the night before the South Africa delegation departed on their return flight home, Jared and I sat down for the interview. This article, however, is about how our friendship has led to the inclusion of the Mariana Islands and Micronesia as a region on the BirdLasser app.
BirdLasser is an application for birders; a birder designed it, it’s good for birders and good for birds. The app allows beginners to record bird sightings and share the information with friends and the birding community. BirdLasser was also designed to assist conservation causes, too.
It was designed by a conservation-minded birder and self-proclaimed techno-geek named Henk Nel, also from South Africa, where a reported 850 bird species reside; 725 of these birds are resident or annual visitors. South Africa has an impressive 50-avian species count. Guam has 66 bird species, including native and migratory.
When Henk and I spoke about the design of the BirdLasser app, he was excited about the fun the application rewards those who participate in the competition. BirdLasser can be used to compete with other bird sightings in a region. Who doesn’t like a little fun?
But the benefit is that BirdLasser also contributes to a global social conversation effort for birds, mammals, lizards, and butterflies. BirdLasser supports the recordation of bird species from Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Indian Ocean Islands and Micronesia.
So, how did Micronesia get on the list? I sent Jared selected pictures of the birds I have been observing since December 2017 and included the CornellLab promotion of Global BIG Day on May 5, 2018, encouraging everyone, non-birders too, to contribute to the bird count to make Global Big Day a record-breaking event. I sent it to Jagi Gakunju too, and he passed it on to other birders in South Africa. Sydney Shema was on the list, and Sydney mentioned going out to count birds with the BirdLasser app.
I downloaded the application and noticed that Mariana Islands and Micronesia was not listed as one of the regions to choose from. I contacted Henk and asked if he would add the Mariana Islands and Micronesia to the selection, and he did it straight away.
I called Henk and asked if I could send him the CHamoru names for the bird species and he was happy to do that as long as I indicate what species they are in English. And, therein lies the challenge. The CHamoru defines a few bird species as Dulili, these are shorebirds, and waders; Common Sandpiper, Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Grey-tailed Tattler, American Wandering Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone, Marsh Snipe and Sanderling. It’s the same for the CHuchuko’ but I will send Henk the Department of Agriculture bird posters as a guide, the photos illustrated by ornithologist H. Doug Pratt, and we can all begin to contribute to the bird counts in our region and record our bird causes too.
Download BirdLasser today and start recording the birds in our region. It’s free and the information you provide about our birds can contribute to a better understanding of how to protect them and hopefully reintroduce them into our environment.
Source: Google News : https://www.postguam.com/forum/featured_columnists/mariana-islands-micronesia-added-to-birdlasser-app/article_90d15f28-50bd-11e8-95b0-3770fd5157e9.html